Thursday, June 14, 2018

Post Fables...

As in 'after', not that I'm posting fables, on walls or through the mail.  Though I did receive a small marvel, a heartbreakingly beautiful treasure through the mail this morning.  This.

I've been a Karine Polwart fan for a while, due to Terri Windling, who has opened my ears to many marvellous singers and musicians through her regular 'Tunes for a Monday Morning' posts.  A recent Monday post featured Karine, and information about her one-woman music/theatre/storytelling show Wind Resistance, and the subsequent CD/Book package.  I found a couple of Youtube snippets, and fell in love with the whole idea, so I treated myself.  It arrived this morning, and what a beautiful, heart-rending thing it is too.

I've been thinking on the 'next project' (apart from the visual The Wolf Bride that I'm currently working on), and wondering about the possibility of doing something more personal, more local, still with stories and myth and folklore, because I can't let that go, but something more grounded in the 'here' of my life.  But as ever, I wonder if I'm brave enough.  My songs and performance work always, I suppose, have an element of the autobiographical, because how can they not?  But it's not really about me, it's the old stories, reimagined and universal, more the macro view than the micro view.  I'm always hiding behind a mask, so to speak.

So I wonder, have I got a story that's interesting enough, and am I brave enough to tell it without the mask to hide behind?  I don't know, and I don't know how to go about it.  But hearing/seeing Karine's beautiful work, and the marvellous way she has seamlessly created this organic and fluid piece, sliding effortlessly between personal story, local history (recent and ancient), scientific observation, political commentary and more, has inspired me to at least think seriously about giving it a go.  It will probably be a long time coming, and I don't know what shape it might take, but I think I might try.  If nothing else, I might create a body of work that I can leave to my daughters, and granddaughters, that will tell them who I was.  And maybe I might find out along the way too.

*            *            *

But, leaving that aside for now.  Fables went well, and I discovered some useful things that will improve (I hope) future work.  I had lovely, and very appreciative audiences, and again was asked, "will there be a cd?" more than once, so I suppose I'd better seriously plan how to go about that.  I was terribly nervous the first morning (and first show in the venue at 10am is not the best for me, I'm better a bit later in the day), but I remembered everything, didn't falter or stop or lose where I was up to.  So I know when I know it, and I know I can do it, even if I'm not feeling relaxed and in control.  A very useful thing to know!  The second show was much better, even with a couple of minor line 'fluffs' which I recovered easily from because I knew it well enough the find my way back.  Performing when you're relaxed enough to enjoy it, and not stress about minor mistakes, is a beautiful thing.  I like that feeling.  I should perform more!  And I definitely sang better on the second day.

An interesting thing that I discovered, is that I think I prefer performing a single story narrative, like The Wolf Bride, to a series of tales like Fables.  This was echoed by something a friend who came said, that she'd just relax into one story, only to be dragged reluctantly out and into another.  I carefully planned my 'segues' to avoid obvious ends and beginnings, to hopefully blend one story into another and avoid any uncomfortable jolts or shifts between them.  But even so, each was only a snippet of a tale (I must have cut at least half of my original script to get it down to 50mins), and there was so much detail and richness that I had to leave out.  And so, subsequently, I was not as 'attached' to this show as to The Wolf Bride.  I know this was also due to the fact that I'd been working on (and living with) The Wolf Bride for several years, and it was on a theme that I'm personally quite attached to (and I've had some more insight into what attracts me to it, but that's for another post), but with 50mins with one story, you can really get 'into' it, dive in and immerse yourself, and really enjoy the more gradual unfolding of the story, the depth and the richness of a single tale.  So I may stick with that for future shows.

But for the moment, I'm in R&D mode for a 'new and improved' The Wolf Bride, experimenting with ideas that will bring a more theatrical feel to the show, without making it so complicated that I need a stage crew to produce it.  I'm playing about with paper models and simple lighting effects using everyday, cheap electric candles and small battery fairy lights.  Very simple stuff that I can do myself onstage, but which will enrich the experience for an audience.  And without losing the simple 'storytelling' aspect in a welter of fancy things to look at.  I've always been a fan of very simple stage/set designs (though I must admit I adore marvellous lighting).  Something that enhances, rather than overwhelms, the beauty of a person standing/sitting in front of an audience and telling a story.

A few 'baby steps' experiments!

Electric candles inside plain paper printed on inside with text/pictures (so it appears plain white until the light is on).

Fairy lights and leaves cut from plastic milk bottles.

Can I make my drum into a moon?

Yes, it looks like I can.

IKEA battery lights and tissue paper.

And a plastic yogurt container.

A 'loo roll' castle.  VERY simple, I can expand on this greatly.

A stone wall pattern printed on inside of paper...makes a stone tower!

A fire and curling smoke around a tea light.  The flame cut paper is red, but it doesn't show as such when the candle is lit in complete darkness, so perhaps a 'stained glass' effect with red cellophane might be the go?!

And someone doesn't like it when mummy's attention is all on the computer and NOT on him!

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